woman sitting on the ground and holding a red valentine's day heart because she is stressed and lonely on Valentine's Day
Lifestyle,  Love and Dating,  Self Care

Valentine’s Day Got You Stressed? You’re Not Alone. How to Deal With the Valentine’s Day Downers

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. No, seriously. It is the day that we celebrate our romantic partners and profess our love for them, usually by spending a ton of money on gushy greeting cards, overpriced flowers, calorie-laden candies, stuffed animals, expensive jewelry, lavish dinners, you name it.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend an average of $162.00 on Valentine’s Day, with total sales reaching over $20 billion! With figures like these, you’d think everyone was happily coupled and reveling in the joyous anticipation of Cupid’s arrival.

The truth is that Valentine’s Day can be kind of a drag for those who are single, awkward for those who’ve just started dating, high-stakes for those in the relationship honeymoon period, and often ignored by those who’ve been in a relationship for many, many years.

Valentine’s Day is often a defining marker for those in a committed relationship, but for those who are single, the holiday is a slap in the face, a scarlet letter, reminding them that they are single and alone.

It’s not surprising then, that Valentine’s Day is known to cause stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness and depression. This commercial holiday sometimes makes us feel inadequate when our expectations are not met. Valentine’s Day can also magnify problems in a relationship when the relationship is compared to the idealized version of what popular culture says it should be.

Cupid is Stupid: 6 Tips for Beating the Valentine’s Day Blues

  1. If you’re single and want to meet someone, why don’t you find a meet-up in your community? Valentine’s Day meet-ups are common and you can meet quality people who are single just like you. Or you can stay home, put on a pair of your most cozy comfortable jammies and watch your favorite movie. Just Netflix and chill!
  2. If you’re down and out because you haven’t found your soulmate, just think that there’s always next year. Take measures to ensure you’ll put yourself in a position where you’ll meet quality people. You could try online dating or break out of your old habits by visiting new places and expanding your circle of friends. Next Valentine’s Day, you could be celebrating with your newly found love.
  3. If you’ve just gotten out of a relationship because of a break-up or divorce, then take the time to heal and relax your soul. Do something kind for someone else on Valentine’s Day. Go and volunteer, spend time at the animal shelter, or go help out at your local women’s shelter. After all, it’s a day when love wins so showing your love to others can help you mend your broken heart.
  4. If you’ve just started dating and you’re in the beginning stages, Valentine’s Day can be rather awkward. Should you make it a thing? Should you buy gifts for each other if it’s only your third date? Is it time to DTR? The best thing to do is discuss the holiday ahead of time and mutually decide if you’ll get each other an inexpensive token to commemorate the occasion or just blow the holiday off. Don’t make a big deal out of it if you don’t know where the relationship is going. Agree to meet for drinks at a bar, or better yet, go on a Valentine’s Day bar crawl. (This is good for singles too!)
  5. If you’re in a full-blown relationship that is still in its honeymoon period or infatuation phase (experts say that this honeymoon period lasts anywhere from 6 months to a year and that a good rule of thumb to recognize when it’s over is when you both go to bed at different times) you must definitely celebrate Valentine’s Day. A nice romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant with good wine and food says to your beloved that they matter. It’s a special occasion where expensive gifts are bestowed, bouquets of flowers sent to the workplace, and passions run deep. Enjoy this phase and don’t let the pressures of perfection spoil the day.
  6. If you’ve been in a stable relationship for many years, you may just blow off Valentine’s Day altogether and that’s okay. Perhaps you’re a jaded cynic who views the holiday as a commercially-made racket for a retailer’s sole benefit. If you don’t want to pump money into a phony holiday, there are things that you can do to celebrate your love and they won’t cost a thing. Simple romantic gestures that tell your partner you still care can often mean more than any store-bought gift.

Don’t Let Valentine’s Day Get You Down

teddy bear with red rose for valentine's day

Feeling stressed and pressured on Valentine’s Day is not uncommon, but it does not have to be this way. Taking control of how YOU want to celebrate, or not, can take some of the anxiety out of an iconic holiday that’s gotten way too commercialized. If we think of Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate the ones we love, and we include ourselves, we may start to see Valentine’s Day in a different perspective. Do what makes you happy on that day and don’t succumb to the commercial pressures and idealized images. Make this Valentine’s Day and everyday matter for you, those you love, and those who love you.

Erin Love Thomas is the founder and managing editor of This Side of Happy. As a relationship blogger, Erin helps readers find, nurture, and sustain healthy relationships. Erin's desire is that everyone finds the love and happiness they seek.